The India Network recently took 15 Indian startup founders to attend the 3 day “ Survive and Thrive” boot camp at Club Getaway in Kent, in the suburbs of New York. The boot camp had a vibrant mix of entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers like Jesse Itzler – owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Kevin Harrington – an original ABC Shark Tank judge, and Susie Carder of Motivating the Masses.
Survive and Thrive is a boot camp for entrepreneurs who want to move their companies from “surviving to thriving.” It brings together influential and successful business leaders, accredited investors, entrepreneurs, coaches, and students. This was the brainchild of legendary entrepreneur Marva Allen. Allen, whose latest project is a social platform and literary hub called Wordeee, is best known for guiding the iconic Hue-Man Bookstore to global success when she joined as a majority partner and CEO in 2004. She and partners Sachin Narode, of Xeniapp, and David Schreiber, of Club Getaway, “decided to create the conference that we would love to have gone to with Survive and Thrive”.
India Network and Survive and Thrive
Rahul Narvekar – Founder of India Network, which took the 15 entrepreneurs to the United States of America for the Camp says “I was speaking at an event at the United Nations a few months ago and immediately after, this striking looking lady approached me, held both my hands and said ” I want to take you out for a drink and chat”. That chat lasted for a few hours with the dynamic Marva Allen. We were also joined by Patrice Samara and Sachin Narode. Marva invited me to speak at her event “Survive and Thrive” and I suggested the idea of bringing a bunch of entrepreneurs from India for the event”.
Rahul shares “I had seen the transformation of Ritesh Agarwal of OYO after he attended the Peter Theil Scholarship and I believe that exposure makes a huge difference to people. This was an attempt to give exposure and inspire. I was keen to build a community of entrepreneurs, professionals, Startups, SMEs, academicians and achievers to collaborate, connect and leverage the power of community. I believe in using technology and community to ensure that one’s growth is not limited due to geography”.
India Network ran an online campaign where they got 3800 applications out of which 15 people finally made it to the Camp. It was a fully sponsored trip and Rahul says that it was done to give them exposure, enhance learning and network with people to help them scale their business to the next level.
The Boot Camp
It was a life-changing experience for all the participants. A typical day commenced with an early breakfast followed by various activities spread throughout the Camp, and inspiring talks from the likes of Kevin Harrington, Susie Carder, Jesse Izlar etc. The sessions were aimed at honing pitching skills, personality development and developing communication strategies among other things. This was followed by a networking session and then the much-awaited “after party”.
The Camp helped the entrepreneurs in many ways. Deep Bajaj of PeeBuddy got his USA distribution deal done and is in active discussions for raising his next round of funding. Five other startups are in various stages of discussions for raising between 1 to 5 million dollars each. Meghna Saroagi of StyleDotMe got her first international deal signed and is looking at much more. 16-year-old Hemkesh Agarwal – inventor of a glove for the visually impaired, had the opportunity of a private meeting with people like the CEO of Bank of America and is on his way to getting a $ 10,000 grant. Ihitashri Shandilya of MITHILAsmita got her products stocked in a few international stores.
Talking of amusing incidents at the Camp, Rahul shares “After the pack-up, while waiting for their buses at the Camp to go back to New York, the participants suddenly saw a battery of limousines enter the Camp. Everyone assumed these were for the superstar speakers. They were pleasantly surprised, in fact, stunned, when they found out that the limos were actually there to take them to New York! Everyone had a blast clicking pictures and were using FB live to make the most of the moment”.
Rahul feels that we have a lot to learn from the Americans with regard to marketing. He opines “Americans take marketing to a different level altogether especially, the amount of preparation that they put in for EVERY meeting is something that needs to be emulated”.
India Network is also looking to set up a residential campus in Goa for an incubator/ accelerator program for people from all over the world where they will live and work together in a commune kind of atmosphere. Several workshops , retreats and sabbatical programs are also on the agenda. Rahul says “The idea is to take the Survive and Thrive experience to the next level with India Network programs such as “Tajurba” where experienced folks share their knowledge with young entrepreneurs and kidpreneurs – where children experience new skills and experiences. A writers retreat and a movie producers’ camp is also in the offing.
The India Network has already started planning for the next season in India and they are in talks with various State governments for the same. Hyderabad, Vijayawada , Goa, Chandigarh , Kerala , Imphal are some of the places they are looking at. Invitations will soon open for taking the next bunch of entrepreneurs to Japan, Europe and Tel Aviv. If you are looking to scale, this may be your best bet for a life-changing opportunity.
Images Courtesy : India Network.